Doing the ladder? Getting ready for a long run before the half or full marathon? Many runners will begin to experience leg or shin pain. Two problems may be shin splints( also called medial tibial stress syndrome) and stress fractures.
Shin splints present with pain or annoyance along the medial or inside of the shin bone. The problem is due to overuse and inflammation of the insertion of the muscle to the bone, even the one becomes inflamed. Treatment is a combination of rest, anti-inflammatories, ice, compression and stretching.
Stress fractures are due to repetitive small injuries to bone, again due to overuse or running on hard surfaces. It results with microscopic fractures to bone tissue, most commonly to the lower extremity- the 4th and 5th metatarsals or foot bones are common sites. It occurs in runners or is often seen in new military recruits when they initiate training. An X-ray, bone scan or MRI may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Once other pathological or predisposing factors have been ruled out, the treatment is rest and reduction of activity. Sometimes crutches and an immobilizing boot are prescribed. Time is an ally, and it may take several days to weeks to heal and gradually return to activity. If an athlete returns too soon, the fracture can reoccur and the process has to be repeated. Frustrating the athlete….but it will heal!